The Xonar Essence STX Q/A, tweaking, impressions thread

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by telix, Apr 28, 2009.
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  1. Jonathan Crouch
    That would be the Burson Play with V6 op-amps. Mine's supposed to be shipping today.
  2. alphanumerix1
    Hi guys for those interested

    Review Burson Audio Supreme sound Opamp V6 vivid

    Thanks to Charles at SS-Audio for the trial units of the V6 vivid, I was sent these in return for my honest opinion.

    Equipment used:

    Asus essence stx

    Burson V6 vivid x 3

    Sennheiser hd600

    Audio technica ad900


    I'm in no way an audio professional as I am just a regular consumer who enjoys music. You could say I'm enthusiast but If you're after graphs and scientific findings this review will not be for you. I enjoy my music as we all do here and finding ways to improve that music is my and of course many of our goals.

    Enters Burson Audio, I have been aware of the company for quite some time now and they have always created interesting and well-regarded products in the audio community. So, when I heard that Burson Audio released their latest op-amp I was very interested to try and see what they are all about.

    I consume the majority of content on my desktop e.g. music, games etc. So easy ways to improve my audio experience that don't break the bank was always going to appeal to me as it would many a pc user.

    This is where the Burson Audio V6 comes in,

    Packaging: The V6 arrives in an unassuming padded envelope but it packed well and arrived without any issues.


    Installation: Very simple installation with the V6 and the Asus essence stx. Remove the Emi shield of the stx unplug the op amps and insert the V6. Plugging in the V6 you will notice they lean against the capacitors ever so slightly but this has not been an issue. For reference I'm using 3 v6s


    Sound: I have "burned in" the op amps for 150hours to satisfy those who believe in that and if you don't that’s fine too. I've heard that Burson Audio has recommended 100-150hours of burn in but not seen anything official on that so take that with a grain of salt. (Also, I'm coming from the stock op-amps that come with the asus essence stx)

    Bass – First thing I noticed with the bass was there is more punch/presence with better control and quality. Don't expect a large bump in bass but the improvement in the bass area is noticeable its reaches lower and comes through with more authority to my ears.

    Mids – Here I was greeted with fuller sounding natural vocals, slightly more forward vocals with better clarity.

    Treble – There is some extra sparkle in the higher registers nothing harsh or sibilant to my ears. I did notice more details/definition in the treble region but only slight changes.

    Soundstage – Probably the biggest difference I noticed was in soundstage, coming from the stock op amps there is a clear upgrade. I can hear better width and depth; the stage feels more atmospheric and lively with Improved placement of voices and instruments. I was very pleased in this department and this is where the improvements became more apparent.

    Summary: So, when I comes down to the nitty gritty would I recommend the Burson Audio V6. Short answer is yes. If you have a headphone with you pleased with and looking for the extra something from your source the v6 can be great option. Pros: Easy plug and play installation strong after sales support from Burson Audio and improvement in sound quality Cons: Size, price. With the pros outweighing the cons i can recommend the The Burson Audio V6 opamp without hesitation.
  3. Junglbob
    Hi guys, can you help me to choose please, I have now Asus Xonar Essence STX and Sennheiser HD650, I want to make a little upgrade, but don't know what is will better...
    1) I can buy Burson V6 Op Amp (x2) because I use only headphone out.
    2) I can buy Schiit Magni 3 for STX (and maybe in future buy Modi 2).
    I have not bad PSU in my PC > Thermaltake Toughpower 750W (W0117)

    In overall I like a sound STX, but need some improve bass, little bit more density, more clarity in sound, maybe wider scene.

    Waiting for your answer, Thanks!

    p.s. sorry for my english.
  4. r1sh
    Hi guys!

    Can anyone help me solving my problem. I'm choosing soundcard for gaming and choosing between Asus STX, Asus Phoebus and Titanium HD. Which will suit more and why?
  5. Jonathan Crouch
    If between these 3 the STX 2 (not the STX if you can avoid it.) If you want a sound card that literally has astounding quality that will pull out the finest details buy the Burson Play from Burson Audio.
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  6. Rainmaker91
    I have to agree with Jonathan on this. The STX series is likely as good of a card as should get for placing inside your computer. Still, even at this price point I really have to ask why you are not going for a dedicated DAC? The STX is really good, but there are also really good DACs in the same price range as well. Still the STX is likely as expensive as I would ever get for a PCI-e card as anything above that price point is virtually useless compared to a dedicated DAC.
    The best option in my eyes is if possible to get a DAC with coax (if your board has digital coax out) as both USB and optical can be quite noisy (thgough there are filters for USB connections).

    But, yeah. Out of the ones listed the STX is a clear winner, and if you desperately need more than 2 channels then the STX daughter board would be a good option.
  7. r1sh
    i'mg going to use only headphones like ad700x \ hd 598 \ dt 770 (32ohm)

    Price for stx, tihd and phoebus is about $80-90 used in my country. I'm not shure that dedicated dac costs this low)
  8. Rainmaker91
    I see, I didn't know that you were getting it used. Still, you should look around for it as well since you are already looking for another audio card. The plus side is that a used dedicated DAC would be far less likely to have been damaged by stuff like static electricity and so on, the second people other than yourself is messing around with bare boards they could be doing who knows what and you wouldn't know it. It's one of the reasons I'm always sceptical at buying used computer hardware to start with, but audio equipment is usually better handled as it is more often than not just designed to be able to be handled by whomever (as long as the casing isn't opened).

    Anyway, some things to know about the STX. The drivers are not updated all that often, and I have experienced instabilities every now and then (it's been a while since that though). Still, the card is great and the audio is a lot better than anything else in the same price range that also uses PCI/PCI-e.

    As for the reasons to get the STX over the others, it's a pure audio focused card. There hasn't been any need for "gaming" cards since Vista was launched and effectively blocked hardware audio processing (Which is what Creative was known for), so the Phoebus is just a waste of money. The Titanium HD is just a card that I don't know anything about. It might be good, but I simply don't know. What I do know is that the STX (ver 1.0 in my case) is a terrific card that really still outshines any other internal cards I have tried (I haven't tried stuff much over that price range though). It also performs better in my opinion than the Dragonfly Red, but that is debatable. The plus side is that you can mess around with it and swap out the opamps and so on to your liking, or leave it as is if you don't want to (I still have mine fully stock, but the option is there).
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